March 21, 2020

Pura Banua Kawan Besakih - Temple with Unique Ceremony in Karangasem Bali

Pura Banua Kawan is one of Besakih Temple Complex, lies about 200 meters down-ridge from Pura Penataran Agung. This is a sacred temple dedicated to worshiping Ida Bhatari Sri or Dewi Sri as the goddess of rice, fertility and prosperity.

Pura Banua Kawan Besakih, Banua Kawan Temple Besakih

This holy temple is located in Besakih Village, Rendang, Karangasem Regency, Bali. It might be a bit bard to visit the Besakih Temple Complex given that public transportation services are still limited. But you can consider several options such as: using a travel tour, a taxi, or you can rent a vehicle and drive yourself to this location.

Visitors may need to prepare some money if charged to enter the temple. When traveling to temples in Bali, visitors will be asked to wear sarong (cloth) and waist sash when entering the temple. This is something that is common in Bali and at the same time to respect the culture that has existed in the temple since long ago.

Usually, this has been prepared. You can also prepare it yourself or buy from the nearest merchant. In addition to improving the local economy, this will help you blend in, learn about the culture, feel the hospitality, and finally add a new souvenir collection to your display case.

It was mentioned in several studies that the word "banua" or "wanua" is an old Indonesian word, found in the earliest inscriptions of both Java and Bali. Banua or Wanua means "village" or "village territory".

The main shrine in Pura Banua Kawan Besakih is "Gedong Sari", a one-roofed meru located at the head of Bale Agung. This shrine is dedicated to worship Ida Bhatari Sri or Dewi Sri. There are also Bale Agung, Bale Pasamuhan, and other supporting buildings.

It is said that initially there was a "bale lumbung" or "lumbung sri/nini", which was used to store rice from rice fields owned by Besakih Temple. Previously, people would come and placed sheaths of the first harvested rice called, the Sacred Nini.

At present, this bale lumbung is gone and is being tried to be rebuilt. Bale lumbung or lumbung sri/nini is functioned to ask for "penginih-inih", as a symbol that the need for food can be met and the use of wealth can be done sparingly and efficiently.

The piodalan ceremony in Pura Banua Kawan Besakih called Odalan Bhatari Sri, falls on Friday or Sukra Umanis wuku Kelau (Friday-Umanis of the week Kelau). This celebration is dedicated to Dewi Sri as the goddess of rice, fertility and prosperity.

On this temple there is also a ritual celebration called "Nagingin Pulu", means fill the rice-bin. The ritual nagingin pulu falls on "Come Ribek", which is Monday or Coma Pon wuku Sinta (Monday-Pon of the week Sinta). In addition to these rituals, there were also celebrated two major ceremonies, Usaba Buluh and Usaba Ngeed.

Usaba Buluh and Usaba Ngeed

Usaba Buluh is a ritual dedicated to Dewi Sri, as a goddess of rice, fertility and prosperity. At this ceremony, residents brought a piece of bamboo of the variety called "Buluh". Each piece of buluh is decorated with colorful flowers and leaves, palm-leaf ornament, and young coconut leaf.

Besides buluh, there are also important components, namely Pring and Nasi Aon. Pring is a creation made of mature sugar-palm leaf, called "Ron". This creation (pring) is the representation of human figure and is made in pairs (male and female).

Nasi Aon is made of cooked rice mixed with ash from the temple kitchen. Next, the priest will perform the rituals and sprinkles the holy water over the offerings, the buluh, worshippers, etc.

Worshipper will take a small portion of ritual offerings such as: pring, nasi aon, twigs or buluh leaves, and holy water (wangsuh pada). These are brought home and placed at the field shrine or just scattered on the fields. This is believed to provide fertility for fields, abundant crop yields, free of plague and disease.

Usaba Ngeed is a continuation ritual of Usaba Buluh. This ritual is a symbol of marriage celebration between Bhatari Sri (goddess of rice, enshrined at one-roofed meru in Pura Banua Kawan) and Bhatara Rambut Sadana (god of wealth, enshrined at 11-roofed meru in Pura Penataran Agung).

The two deities, Bhatari Sri and Bhatara Rambut Sadana, are carried in procession to four temples in the Besakih Temple Complex in turn, such as: Pura Manik Mas, Pura Batu Madeg, Pura Kiduling Kreteg, and Pura Penataran Agung. This procession ends in Banua Kawan Temple where the two deities enshrined together like a pair of brides and the worshippers perform their final praying.

The holy water (wangsuh pada) from the ritual Usaba Ngeed can be sprinkled at home, especially on rice storage containers also on household valuables.

Usaba Ngeed is celebrated at Puranama Sasih Kawulu (the full moon of the eighth month in Balinese Calendar). While Usaba Buluh was carried out a few days before Usaba Ngeed (still in Sasih Kawulu).

In general, the Usaba Buluh ritual aims to invoke the prosperity and productivity of both irrigated and dry land agriculture, known as Bhoga (food). While the Usaba Ngeed ritual aims to invoke wealth (material well-being), known as Upabhoga (clothing) and Paribhoga (house).

Pring, Nasi Aon, dan Buluh Leaf

The uniqueness of materials used in Usaba Buluh is so interesting and makes me dig deeper. The results of the study mention that these ingredients (pring, nasi aon, and buluh leaves) have a relationship with the fertility of agricultural land.

Pring is made of sugar-palm leaf (Ron). Sugar-palm tree or Arenga Pinnata (Wurmb) Merr has roots that can store large amounts of water (water conservation). This plant can maintain soil fertility and plants around it.

Nasi Aon made of cooked rice and ash functions as a growth medium or culture medium that is designed to support the growth of microorganisms. This culture medium consists of glucose (cooked rice) as the major source of energy; and inorganic salt (ash/potassium) which helps to retain the osmotic balance.

Buluh, like other bamboo varieties, has lush and abundant leaves. The study said that Bamboo leaves contain relatively high concentrations of the macro-mineral elements Potassium (K) and Calcium (Ca). Potassium (K) is one of the "Big 3" primary nutrients in fertilizer, such as: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).

Potassium (K) helps strengthen plants' abilities to resist disease, play an important role in increasing crop yields, protect the plant when the weather is cold or dry, strengthen its root system, improve fruit quality, etc. While Calcium (Ca) plants are needed for growth of new roots and root hairs, and for the development of leaves.

This is like a sacred recipe or method used by the people in the past (ancestors) in maintaining the fertility of agricultural land and obtaining an abundant harvest. But this is limited to the study of literature and this requires further research and direct testing in the field!


  2. _ Mount Agung _ on March 16, 2020
  3. _ Cell Culture Media: A Review _ on March 16, 2020
  4. Kumari, Yourmila; Bhardwaj, DR (2017). "Effect of various bamboo species on soil nutrients and growth parameters in Mid hill of HP, India". International Journal of Chemical Studies 2017. P-ISSN: 2349-8528. E-ISSN:2321-4902. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  5. Wang, ML; Irish, B; Tonnis, BD; Pinnow, D; Davis, J; Hotchkiss, MW; Harrison, ML (2017). "Exploring Bamboo Leaf Nutrient Value in the USNPGS Germplasm Collection". Austin Food Sciences. 2017; 2(1): 1030. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. Widayati, Weka; Rianse, Usman; Hanafi, Hilaluddin; Abdullah, Weka G. (2018). "Empowerment Model Of Aren (Arenga Pinnata (Wurmb) Merr) Farmer Through Their Interaction With The Environment". International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research Volume 7, Issue 7, July 2018. ISSN 2277-8616. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  7. Image : Original Collection

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